Insect of the week – Syrphid flies

Jennifer Otani
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Week 16

This week’s Insect of the week is an important aphid predator, the syrphid fly. Syrphid flies are more commonly known as hoverflies. There are many species in the Syrphidae family and the adults of several species mimic wasps.   


Wasps are characterized by having two pairs of wings, a tightly tapered ‘waist’, long antennae, and a yellow and black body. In contrast, hoverflies or syrphid flies have one pair of wings, a less distinct ‘waist’, have short antennae, and an abdomen striped yellow and black or a black and brown body. Syrphid flies also have relatively large compound eyes  characteristic to all Diptera spp. Mimicking the appearance of a wasp helps protect syrphid flies from predation.  

Find out more about hoverflies and more at the Insect of the Week page!

Two syrphid flies on a hawkweed flower.
(c) 2015 John Gavloski, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

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